Two and a half pages of a 49-page report about the 2011 assault of a UAA hockey player by the coach was released to the Anchorage Daily News on Wednesday. Although many in UAA’s administration knew about the assault –including UAA Chancellor Tom Case, and Vice Chancellor Bill Spindle –the investigation was only conducted after it was reported in the ADN and the community began to demand action.
While it’s hard to take too much from what was released, a few things are worth highlighting:
- The report said that the coach Dave Shyiak “possibly” committed a misdemeanor assault but that charges will not be forwarded because it would be against the wishes of the victim.
- Following the assault, the athletic department made a “very sparsely conducted” inquiry into the incident.
- The investigator chalked the lack of inquiry up to the “lack of a Standard Operating Procedure.”
- UAA, however, seems to dispute that. Kristin DeSmith, a UAA spokeswoman, said that anyone with a significant responsibility for student and campus activities is a “campus security authority” and is required by federal law to report a potential crime.
In other words, those who knew about it and didn’t report it might have violated federal law. That would include Case, Spindle and recently fired Athletic Director Steve Cobb.
Further, what’s been released so far appears to directly contradict the statement released by Case following Cobb’s firing. In that statement, Case said that he had spoken to the investigator, and was assured that the investigation “found no basis for recommending criminal charges against Coach Shyiak or anyone else.” And that Cobb “did in fact conduct a good faith review of the allegations at the time.”
Case also called the allegation “overstated.” (It should be noted that Cobb wasn’t fired because of the assault on his watch. He was fired, according to Case, because he had become a “distraction.”)
Either the investigator didn’t tell Case the truth about what he was finding, or Case lied to the public. In either case, someone should be held accountable.
But they likely won’t. It’s been 37 days since the assault was reported in the media, and not one member of university leadership, including any member of the Board of Regents, has yet to denounce the assault and ensure parents that their kid won’t get hit by a coach, a teacher, or secretary.
The University of Alaska’s motto is Ad Summum, meaning “To the Highest Point.” Sounds good, until your look at what goes on on high.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org